Hidden in plain sight is a casually elegant bar and restaurant on Bridge Street in Lambertville, New Jersey. On any given day you might walk by the Lambertville House, and admire the architecture of the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The porch beckons patrons to gather in pleasant weather.
This historic building in the heart of Lambertville has been an inn and tavern since 1812. It has a long history of warmth and hospitality where diners enjoy sophisticated cocktails at the bar as well as an eclectic, seasonal, menu of small plates and innovative entrees in the dining room. In warmer weather, enjoy the delicious food alfresco on the veranda, on one of the prettiest streets in New Jersey.
Location: The Lambertville House, 32 Bridge Street, Lambertville, New Jersey. Find the restaurant website here.
Menu: Appetizers, designed for sharing, are perfect for a quick bite paired with a cocktail in the swanky bar. Choices like pate, charcuterie, and a Mediterranean plate including Kopanisti – a spicy Greek cheese, hummus, roasted red peppers, are fantastic for sampling with a group.
Soups, including mushrooms bisque, and a crisp and flavorful chopped salad comprised of romaine, baby spinach, green beans, chickpeas, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs in a balsamic vinaigrette make terrific options for lighter fare.
A list of inventive sandwiches, available anytime, offers tantalizing late lunch options. After 4 pm. you might have a tough time deciding from entrees like seared salmon in a leek cream sauce, miso scallops or short ribs so tender you can cut them with a fork.
Thoughts: How did I miss this place? I walked past it many times and wistfully watched people chatting and dining on that stunning front porch for the past year. It is not surprising that this popular spot is a “not so hidden” gem, right on bustling Bridge Street.
The staff is incredibly welcoming. While the vibe at the Lambertville House is casual, the staff is attentive and responsive. Especially the kitchen staff, who are gracious and willing to adapt any option on the menu.
There are two spots for indoor dining, a cozy, clubby bar area that feels European, and a sunlit dining room for an open and airy feeling. The front veranda is another option in lovely weather. The spot is perfect for watching the comings and goings on Bridge Street while enjoying the delicious offerings from the kitchen.
I sampled many items for the menu and enjoyed each and every dish. First, I love a good salad so I ordered the LH chopped salad. The generous portion, a riff on a cobb without chicken, was lightly dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The crisp combinations of lettuces including spinach, radicchio, and romaine along with the chopped egg, bacon, and chickpeas made me return for more. If you enjoy a salad course, this is a wonderful choice. The addition of proteins like shrimp, chicken, or salmon makes it a hearty choice for lunch or dinner.
From the appetizer section, the shrimp Victor, seared and dressed in a chipotle-garlic sauce was a winner. An addition to the menu created by the owner of Lambertville House, it is a fan favorite. The accompanying grilled French bread makes a crunchy dipper to catch all that flavorful, spicy sauce. Best of all, the shrimp remained tender and the portion is huge.
Next, I ordered an incredible sandwich called the Fromage A Trois. Not only did I love the play on words, but I also adored this comforting sandwich that oozed cheeses paired with a creamy tomato bisque soup. The chef mixes muenster, chevre, Havarti, and caramelized onions on country white French bread. Then he griddles the bread until it becomes a melty elevated grilled cheese. I was in love at first crunch. The combination is epic and the tomato soup brought me back to childhood. It was the ultimate comfort food.
Finally, the slow-braised short ribs served with whipped mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables was a wonderful choice. While the protein stays on the menu, the sauce changes seasonally. During my visit, the ribs were braised in a mole sauce. Mole, the complex Mexican gravy, tasted rich, and savory on the ribs. It was an excellent combination as the zesty sauce paired well with the fork-tender beef.
Desserts are equally impressive at the Lambertville House. I found the warmed S’ more’s double fudge brownie topped with fudge, toasted marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbles, completely irresistible. The entire dish, plus the presentation, on a slate plate with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, made me swoon. Additionally, the New York Style cheesecake topped with raspberry coulis was one of the best I have tasted. Again, a generous portion on both that is perfect for sharing.
From the starters to the desserts, the Lambertville House makes guests feel at home. It has a huge local following and luckily I am a new member of this fortunate club. I can’t wait to grab a cocktail, some starters, and a seat outdoors as soon as the weather permits.
Price Range: Appetizers and sharing plates are $12-19. Soups and salads are $5-12. Sandwiches are around $16. Entrees are $23-29. Desserts are $9 with the exception of the S’ mores brownie at $11.
Disclosure: The Lambertville House provided my meal to facilitate this review.